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Nigerians to pay more as UK announces hike in visa fees, health surcharge



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Rishi Sunak, the UK prime minister, says the surcharge paid for the state-funded national health service (NHS) by visa applicants from around the world will “increase significantly”.

Sunak, who spoke on Thursday during a Downing Street press conference, said migrants will also pay more for visa applications.

The development is set to hit Nigeria with one of the highest numbers of migrants to the UK.

The British-Indian leader, who was under pressure to accept the recommendation of an independent review of pay for teachers, police, junior doctors and other public sector workers, confirmed a hike between 5 percent and 7 percent across the board.

“If we’re going to prioritise paying public sector workers more, that money has to come from somewhere else because I’m not prepared to put up people’s taxes and I don’t think it would be responsible or right to borrow more because that would just make inflation worse,” Sunak said.

“So, what we have done are two things to find this money. The first is, we are going to increase the charges that we have for migrants who are coming to this country when they apply for visas and indeed something called the immigration health surcharge (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS.

“All of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over £1 billion. So, across the board visa application fees are going to go up significantly and similarly for the IHS.

Sunak added that this was “entirely right” as these fees have not been increased recently.

He said the government believes it is appropriate given that the costs have risen since the last hike.

According to Sunak, this move will have no effect on inflation because there would be no new borrowing or spending to fund the increases.

He added that the funds would have to be sourced elsewhere.

“Teachers’ pay rises would be funded by a reallocation of the existing department budget, ” he said.

TheCable earlier reported that Junior doctors under the British Medical Association (BMA) have embarked on a five-day strike over their demand for increased salaries.

They had previously gone on strike from June 14 to June 17, for 96 hours in April and 72 hours in March

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